Thursday 15 December 2022

A Frosty Christmas at Charlecote

A cold snap has definitely hit Charlecote this December and not just outside this beautiful country home. A frozen curse has been put on Charlecote by The Frost Queen and everything has been frozen in time.

To be honest, Charlecote looks stunning all through the year but covered in frost and snow, it's quite magical.

Winter has definitely arrived!

With the snow falling on frozen ice, for the safety of visitors, staff and volunteers, the park had to be closed for one day. This decision is never taken lightly but with the ice laying under the snow making it slippery underfoot, and many staff and volunteers not being able to get it to open the house and park for everyone, sometimes these choices have to be made. 

Luckily it was only for one day and everything was back to normal the following day. I blame the Frost Queen for working extra hard on her curse.

I've been at Charlecote for 9 years now and one of the loveliest things I get to do is to spend a little more time with the house team as they dress the house for Christmas. I see much of it as it is being created but I was a little busy with a project of my own this year so I didn't get to see it until the day it opened to the visitors.

Seeing the house dressed like this was a big suprise. I'd seen so many Christmases at Charlecote before, each was a delight but I didn't think they could come up with something new yet again! How wrong I was! It's somet
hing rather special and much of it has been made from recycle which is always good. It always amazes me how one person's rubbish can make such beautiful things in the hands of someone creative or with a little imagination.

The Frozen Library has to be my favourite room! WOW was my first impression and it carried on being a wow as I saw more and more of the details and realised the work that had gone into it. Snow lay on the floor, icicles hang from the fireplace and those trees all made from paper. Just beautiful! 

Paper chains adorn the historical chairs and bookcases in this room.

It's been 18 months since the refurbishment of the Victorian heating system began and the team of staff and volunteers wanted to celebrate having downstairs open again. They wanted to use some of the packing materials that protected the collection during the work along with some of rubbish left from the project to recycle it in to something new, hence the decorations this Christmas. 

Beautifully made paper flowers add to the decorations in each room. The attention to detail is really nice.

The stunning trees in the library made with pages from books which were not able to sell in the secondhand shop. I think it's marvelous how other uses have been found for so many things rather than throwing them away.

The Great Hall with it's two tall Christmas trees and icy blue lights to add to the chill around Charlecote perfectly dress this room.

Take a look at the staircase, you can't go up but take note of the dress which was made by the very talented Ollie Scaife.

It wasn't until I zoomed in on the photo that I could see it was made from bubble wrap. How clever is this? Amazing!

Walking from one room to another and then back through them all again was a delight. You have to walk around twice to see the things you missed the first time. 

In the Great Hall the trees are dressed with paper origami stars, crochet snowflakes and draped with chains of pearls. Charlecote's amazing volunteers made over 1,000 crochet snowflakes and loads of paper chains which adorn not just the trees but other areas of the house too. 

Loving the reflections on this dresser.

And on the Borghese/Beckford table dressed with a champagne glass tower draped with string pearls.

Even the busts have not been left out.

The crochet snowflakes and paper origami stars. The work and patience that must have gone into making these.

And of course my own creation, The String Quartet to which I will pop a link at the bottom for those interested on how it was made.

The Dining Room with the it's table set only for the Frost Queen also looks beautiful.

It's not often you can see the floor properly in this room so I took full advantage of the reflections. 😀

Beautiful wooden floor and a beautiful dressed table.

The stunning swan which lays in the middle of the table is sat on a river of silver cd and dvd disks.

This swan was created by the lovely Victoria and is getting lots of attention from visitors. It really is beautiful and all the little sections are made from paper. The detail is really quite something. It must have taken ages to make.

The table set for the Frost Queen only.

You can't have Christmas without mince pies!

Take a closer look at some of the details around the house, loving these little animals made by Becky. Wildlife from wool. :)

Snowflakes from paper.

I loved this idea, a little stage to transport you into the the Frozen Queen's world and an extra chance to take some lovely photos. 

In the kitchen sits a stack of wrapped parcels upon the kitchen table, hand painted with beautiful detail.

I have to say the house is magical, there might only be three main rooms open but what an effort from Charlecote's staff and volunteers. It's a big team effort or Team Charlecote as we call it. 😀 

So much work and creativity has gone into this year's Christmas and I think it really shows as you walk around Charlecote. You could even say they ordered the weather to match!

Also to keep the children entertained... or adults, 😀 you can help break the curse the Frost Queen has put on Charlecote by trying to unravel some codes using this little booklet and by following the map inside. 

They have even created two levels at each code breaking station to allow a wider age range of children to be able to join in. I did both!😀

Look out for the code busting stations as you follow the map and don't forget to pick up the little booklet at reception as you come in.

This time is always lovely around the park too and a must if you can and have time!

 The deer did not look impressed with the Frost Queens curse over Charlecote. 

The view down across the deer sanctuary towards the house. 
I love the views from the avenue and I am so pleased the orchard is part of the sanctuary. The deer love it and seem quite relaxed there knowing it's an area they can retreat to when the park gets busy. From the paddock on the other side of the River Dene close to the house, you can see them close up as they seem undisturbed by onlookers. I guess they feel safe with the river laying between them and you. This makes it really lovely for those who can't walk far but would still like to see the deer. A little tip.....September is a great time to watch the deer from the paddock, they love nothing better than the ripe apples in the orchard and you can often see them munching away on one or reaching up for them. (They help build them up ready for the rut in october along with the nuts that fall from the trees around the park). No one else gets a look-in! Deer scrumping apples! Who would have thought it! 

Charlecote church always looks good with a little frost or snow.

Another beautiful view from the Avenue.

View from the Paddock towards the River Avon with the Avenue in the distance.

The branches on the trees in the avenue looked more frosty but it really made them show their amazing stature.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and get a chance to see the magical work at Charlecote this year. It is truly beautiful. Merry Christmas and a healthy happy New Year to you all.

As promised, if you would like to see how I made the string quartet... follow this link....

Copyright Jana Eastwood